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Accommodation in Padova

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Visitors to the region of Veneto often overlook the marvelous city of Padova because they opt to visit Venice instead. It must be a shame once they find out out that they missed not only the oldest city in Northern Italy (founded in 1183 BC by Trojan Prince Antanor) but also the setting of most of the action in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Padova (also known as Padua) is the capital of the province of the same name and stands on the

Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometers west of Venice and 29 kilometers southeast of Vicenza. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchilgione, which once surrounded its ancient walls.

When visiting Padova, the suggested start point by locals is its famous university. Founded in 1222 under the rule of Venice, the University of Padua is the third oldest in Italy and it hosts the oldest anatomy theatre (built in 1954) and the oldest botanical garden in the world (built in 1545).  If you're impressed with those stats, wait until you see the list of some of its alumni: Sperone Speroni, Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and Gabriele Fallopio (first described the fallopian tube).

Right after the university, locals frequently cite the Scrovegni Chapel (Capella degli Scrovegni in Italian) as Padova's most famous sight because it stands on the site of a Roman arena and it holds the most acclaimed fresco cycle in the world. Commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and first completed in 1305, this chapel has a strict policy prior to entrance to improve preservation of its antique collection. The visitors to the Scrovegni Chapel must spend about 15 minutes in a climate controlled, airlocked vault while the vault stabilizes the temperature between the outside world and the inside of the chapel. Make sure to book ahead before your visit to the Scrovegni Chapel.

To summarize the rest of the city, a famous local saying describes Padua itself as the city of “a meadow without grass, a saint without a name and a café without doors”. 

The first part of this saying is best exemplified by Prato della Valle, a 90,000 squared meters elliptical square, that is believed to be the second biggest in Europe, after the Red Square in Moscow.  This "meadow without grass" is a paradise for active Italian men and women, as well as for performing artists and aspiring musicians.

The second part of this saying refers to Saint Anthony of Padua, whose basilica is known as the Basilica del Santo (Basilica of The Saint).  This church not only houses the mortal remain of the Lisbon-born saint, but also masterworks by Donatello.

The third part of the saying, a café without doors, specifically refers to the Caffè Pedrocchi. Near to the Palazzo del Bò, this well-known cafe has a reputation for being "doorless" because for a long time it was open 24/7 365 days of the year.

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December 11, 2008 new by latravelgirl

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